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A Greek artisan is commissioned to cast the cup of Christ in silver and sculpt around its rim the faces of the disciples and Jesus himself. He travels to Jerusalem and eventually to Rome to complete the task. Meanwhile, a nefarious interloper is trying to convince the crowds that he is the new Messiah by using nothing more than cheap parlor tricks. Written by
James Dean was offered the role of Basil, the sculptor, but he and his agent thought the script was poor. Paul Newman, who was a finalist for the role of Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955) that eventually was played by Dean and made him a star, took the role, which Newman later regretted. While shooting "East of Eden," Dean went over to visit Newman on the set of this film, where he met the love of his short life, Pier Angeli, Newman's co-star. See more »
"The Bible" anthology orator Alexander Scourby (as Luke) chooses Greek sculptor Paul Newman (as Basil) to fashion "The Silver Chalice" that served at Jesus Christ's "Last Supper" with faces of the Lord Christ and some of his disciples. Looking tanned and handsome in Warner colors, Mr. Newman not only has trouble recreating the face of Jesus, but also choosing between bosomy Pagan-tilting Virginia Mayo (as Helena) and pretty Christian-leaning Pier Angeli (as Deborra). His cup runneth over...
Unlike Newman, you'll have no trouble figuring out where his character and this story are going...
Going up are Ms. Mayo's plucked and penciled eyebrows; going down is Jack Palance (as Simon) as the new Messiah. Don't be too quick with the fast-forward button, lest you miss Mr. Palance's fall from grace. Newman, who herein moved from TV dramatic guest to big screen star, was not proud of this film; and, it's easy to see why. It's a woefully misguided Biblical epic, with Newman not the least of its problems. The musical score by Franz Waxman is nicely done, especially during softer sequences.
**** The Silver Chalice (12/17/54) Victor Saville ~ Paul Newman, Virginia Mayo, Pier Angeli, Jack Palance
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